Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 344 pages
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on April 7th 2016
Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.
Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.
I must confess that I read this a good while ago, and had half of the review sitting in the notes app on my phone for months… oopsies? Moving onto it….
Nowadays I often find that it can be quite rare to find a good quality contemporary YA novel that isn’t dripping in overdone cliches. While I wouldn’t say this was definitely the case in When We Collided I did find the novel refreshingly honest in its depiction of mental illness, grief and teenage relationships.
We follow Jonah as he deals with family grief, and the resonating effect this has on his large family. The burden falls to him and his older siblings to keep the family afloat and it’s clear that pressure is affecting him mentally. Cue Vivi’s entry into Jonah’s life and family when she moves into town with her artist mother. With her vivacious spirit and infectious happiness, Vivi turns Jonah’s world on its head. But Vivi has her own secrets, her sunny exterior hides a dark past that she’s determined to keep to herself… no matter the cost.
Lord’s characters were flawed and real. I enjoyed the refreshingly honest depiction of mental illness – not all people who suffer make it outwardly obvious, and it was nice to see this shown. Vivi was flaky and controlling, but I didn’t find this grating as I have with characters in other novels. I thought it fit in well with Vivi’s flighty characterisation and was a great juxtaposition to Jonah’s more stable and reliable presence.
I did often get frustrated with Jonah. There were instances (especially with the restaurant and him keeping issues with his mother to himself) when I really just wanted to shake him senseless. Although at times hard to love, especially when he was snapping at Vivi, I did enjoy the fact that he was not depicted as the typical perfect male character. Just as Vivi’s flaws were most prominent with interactions with Jonah, so to was Jonah’s and I loved the way this was written.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
I rooted for the romance but I also understood that it was temporary, and I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this aspect of it (and this is coming from the girl who’s OTP’s are forever romances). When We Collided beautifully depicted the effect of the ‘temporary’ and how just because people come into your life, doesn’t mean they were meant to stay forever. And just because they’re not meant to stay in your life forever, doesn’t make their impact on you any less important or significant.
While in this instance it was depicted as romance, as someone who is coming to terms with losing a few close friends as I grow older as life becomes busy, I could definitely relate.
When We Collided was an enjoyable read, perfect for those who love contemporary romance but who are also looking for something a little different.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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